In 2013, Century College opened a food shelf to help students who were experiencing food insecurity. Faculty and staff soon realized many students were struggling with other basic needs, such as paying tuition and affording stable housing. To help, the college established the Resource and Support Center in 2016.
Michele Jersak, a Century College counselor who oversees the Resource and Support Center says, “Our mission is to help students successfully complete the semester. The support center assists students where gaps exist in the resources that students need to be successful, and we want to make sure that students are connected with resources in the community as well,” says Jersak.
The center partners with many local organizations, including the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Wildwood Lions Club in Mahtomedi, Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Tubman, an organization that helps individuals and families who have experienced relationship violence, elder abuse, addiction, sexual exploitation or other forms of trauma.
The center also helps students access child care, counseling services, energy assistance, help with finances and taxes, health care, housing, legal assistance, scholarships, parent services and transportation.